Aeros Force Game 5 with 4-1 Victory over Griffins
Houston, TX - The Houston Aeros (2-2) defeated the Grand Rapids Griffins (2-2) 4-1 in Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarter Finals on Friday in front of 4,190 fans at Van Andel Arena. Aeros forward Justin Fontaine led the offense, while goalie Mike Condon (1-1) led the defense, helping the team post a three-goal victory, extending the best of five series to a decisive Game 5 on Saturday night in Grand Rapids. Condon helped Houston avoid elimination with 41 saves on 42 shots, including 18 saves in the final frame. Fontaine, who leads the series in scoring with eight points, set up three of his team's four goals. Forwards Mikael Granlund, Chad Rau and David McIntyre, as well as defenseman Steven Kampfer, each scored in the win. Griffins' goalie Petr Mrazek (2-2) stopped 15 of 18 shots in the defeat. Game 5 is scheduled for a 6 p.m. (CT) face off at Van Andel Arena on Saturday in Grand Rapids.
The Griffins struck for the game's first goal, countering a Houston power play with a shorthanded goal for the 1-0 lead. Griffins forward Luke Glendening broke up a pass play, tipping the puck into the neutral zone. Glendening raced off for a breakaway, beating goalie Mike Condon at 4:44 with his second goal of the playoffs. Houston connected for a power-play goal at 12:24 by Mikael Granlund. Defenseman Brian Connelly found Justin Fontaine in the Griffins slot. Fontaine sent a wrist shot to the Grand Rapids net and goalie Petr Mrazek made the initial save. Granlund swept the rebound into the net for his first goal of the playoffs and a 1-1 tie. The Aeros claimed the lead at 19:31 of the opening frame, as Chad Rau pocketed his first goal of the playoffs. Fontaine picked off a Griffins' outlet pass and set up Rau on the right wing. The Aeros centerman carried the puck in behind the Grand Rapids net and stuffed a wraparound past Mrazek for the 2-1 lead.
Houston added to its lead at 10:35 of the second period with the team's second power-play goal of the game. Connelly sent a pass along the blueline to the left point. Defenseman Steven Kampfer floated a shot through traffic and past Mrazek for his first career playoff goal and a 3-1 Aeros lead through two periods of play.
The Aeros sealed the victory with 2:05 remaining in regulation, as Fontaine sprung David McIntyre for an empty-net tally, his second goal of the playoffs and a 4-1 final.
Houston Aeros (6 - Seed) vs. Grand Rapids Griffins (3 - Seed)
1 Grand Rapids 0 at Houston 3
2 Grand Rapids 3 at Houston 2
3 Houston 2 at Grand Rapids 4
4 Houston 4 at Grand Rapids 1 (Series tied 2-2)
5 Houston at Grand Rapids Saturday, May 4 7:00 PM (ET)
Tickets can be purchased at aeros.com, the Toyota Center Box Office and select area Randalls locations. Fans may call 1-866-GO-AEROS or 713-974-PUCK to book a group night to a Calder Cup Playoff game.
Calder Cup Playoff ticket information is available on www.aeros.com . Groups of 15 or more receive a discount on all tickets, to book your group outing to an Aeros Calder Cup Playoff game please call 713-974-PUCK (7825).
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American Hockey League Stories from May 3, 2013
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